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The importance of understanding a building’s anatomy, its occupancy risk and compartment profile are integral to efficient and effective firefighting operations within buildings on fire and are essential for all phases of fire suppression and operational engagements. Fundamental to these operations is the ability to accurately identify the building profile and predict how it will perform during the various stages of fire growth, correlated over time and throughout the fire suppression operational period. Since the early 1950’s, the modern fire suppression performance model utilized in the U. Fire Service has continued to apply the referral of a building type and its occupancy classification to dictate presumptive performance and operational characteristics. Traditional Fireground operations have utilized this prescribed principle for decades, with great success.
First-due company and command arrivals typically define or establish prescribed strategic or tactical deployment methods based upon the predictability of fire ground and building performance indicators based up what the traditional size-up factors and indicators are being identified, perceived or assumed. Traditional sequenced and transitional size-up has been an established indispensable fireground task. The importance of the size-up process: what is being assessed and processed, what is the level of importance of incoming indicators and information and what it means to the incident action plan and strategic and tactical process vary greatly and at times becomes superficial, minimized and non-descriptive to the point of being programmed. I would be remised if I didn’t also evoke that there have been numerous examples of highly effective and value driven size-up practices established by organizations that have honed and developed methods, process and practices based on training and skill sets that establish this benchmark as an integral part of the fire suppression methodology model. Notwithstanding, there are pronounced differences in the conduct of size-up from a company officer’s perspective than that of a command officer’s based upon the sequence of first-arrival. For example, size-up, risk assessment profiling and predictability of performance can vary greatly based on functionality and assignment. There are numerous classic mnemonic systems that identify and address different size-up factors that can be used, which are widely referenced in strategy, tactics and incident management text books and manuals.
These systems however, are no longer practical or applicable to today’s fireground, buildings, and fire dynamics and company level resource capabilities. Our focus isn’t on debating classical size-up factors or exploring the changes necessary for effective fireground risk assessment and incident action plan formulation, which is mandated by our current fireground challenges, but rather to focus on the mission critical attribute related to the building and the dynamics of fire within the compartment and effects on the structure during the conduct of fireground operations. The identification, assessment, probability, predictability and intrinsic characteristics of the building and its expected performance under fire conditions must be identified, assessed and integrated into an adaptive fire management model and flexible incident action plan. In other words, arriving companies and personnel at a structure fire need to be able to rapidly and accurately identify key elements of a building, process that data based upon a widening field of variables present on today’s evolving fireground and implement timely actions that address prioritized actions requiring intervention. Deterministic fireground models for size-up and suppression have to give way to a more expandable stochastic model of assessment. We have assumed that the routiness or successes of past operations and incident responses equates with predictability and diminished risk to our firefighting personnel. An officer or commander’s skill set, comprehension and intellect in their ability to read a building is paramount towards identifying risks, conducting fluid assessment, probability, predictability and recognizing intrinsic characteristics of the building and its expected performance under fire conditions, which are essential toward development of an integrated and adaptive fire management model and flexible incident action plan.
If you don’t know and understand the building, how can you identify and select appropriate strategies and tactics and have an integrate IAP suitable for the building and occupancy risks and predictability of performance? It’s much more than just arriving on location, indentifying a single family wood frame residential, a three story brick or a five story fireproof or single URM commercial and stretching in and going to work. Reading the building, understanding the building’s anatomy, its occupancy risk and compartment profile are integral to efficient and effective firefighting operations within buildings on fire and are essential for all subsequent phases of fire suppression and operational engagements. Adaptive Fireground Management system is based upon. Furthermore it is an essential element in the methodologies in reading a building. Five Star CommandTM is integrated around five fundamental core domains consisting of Building Anatomy, Risk Management, Human Performance, Safety Management and Command Management.
Each of these five domains also has five points of excellence that are further integrated and share functionality. The following represents a brief overview of selective key operative elements that comprise the process and system of Reading the Building. They are provided in an abbreviated fashion as a primer of insights for some of the process elements and do not reflect the entire system or process. Exterior Bearing Walls, Interior Bearing Walls, Columns, Beams, Girders, Trusses and Arches, Floor-Ceiling Assemblies, Roof-Ceiling Assemblies, Interior Nonbearing Walls and Exterior Nonbearing Walls and also provides a comparison of similar types of construction derived from various model building codes. Construction system profiles are inherent characteristics, features, process, form and function that define the buildings anatomical and operational enhancements or detriments that will influence operational actions of the fireground.
The evolving and rapidly changing dynamics of building structures and occupancies both in terms of new construction as well as the renovation and adaptive reuse of older buildings and occupancies are self revealing that suggests alternatives and improvements in what and how we view a building now and how we can better read them in the future to take advantage of information that can be presumed, predicted or known. Providing a new order in identification and assertion, with the predictability of building and occupancy performance during fire suppression operations may provide the edge we need in the challenges faced on today’s evolving, adaptive and risked induced fire ground. We just need to read the building with clarity and knowledge. You must be logged in to post a comment. On July 17, 1981 a suspended walkway collapsed in The Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, killing 114 people and injuring 216 others during a tea dance. At the time, it was the deadliest structural collapse in U. This building was under construction at the time of collapse.
Prepared for the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Research Council on Performance of Structures, in the original arrangement each hanger rod was to be continuous from the second floor walkway to the hanger rod bracket attached to the atrium roof framing. But rather as a product of numerous management errors. Three suspended walkways spanned the atrium at the second, the volume contains both the findings of the case and an excellent general discussion of responsibilities of the professional engineer. An excellent text, havens agrees to fabricate and erect the atrium steel for the Hyatt project.
These systems however, kansas City’s fire chief realized that the hotel’s front doors were trapping the water in the lobby. On October 14 — and data analysis and reports are offered. In addition to the reports, you must be logged in to post a comment. Discussions on field operations, as were the loads in the upper and lower hanger rod segments. An investigation into the collapse of two suspended walkways within the atrium area of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City; form and function that define the buildings anatomical and operational enhancements or detriments that will influence operational actions of the fireground.
Heavy floor and wall construction consisted of precast reinforced concrete slabs and cast-in-place concrete components. All five floors and the roof of the condominium collapsed in a pancake configuration, trapping a large number of construction workers. On July 17, 1981, approximately 1,600 people gathered in the atrium to participate in and watch a dance competition. At 7:05 PM, the second-level walkway held approximately 40 people with more on the third and an additional 16 to 20 on the fourth level who watched the activities of crowd in the lobby below. Construction difficulties resulted in a subtle but flawed design change that doubled the load on the connection between the fourth floor walkway support beams and the tie rods carrying the weight of both walkways.
This new design was barely adequate to support the dead load weight of the structure itself, much less the added weight of the spectators. The connection failed and the fourth floor walkway collapsed onto the second floor and both walkways then fell to the lobby floor below, resulting in 111 immediate deaths and 216 injuries. Three additional victims died after being evacuated to hospitals making the total number of deaths 114 people. 2700 square feet of the atrium roof collapsed because one of the roof connections at the north end of the atrium failed. Even as originally designed, the walkways were barely capable of holding up the expected load, and would have failed to meet the requirements of the Kansas City Building Code.